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FLBA-gasted *


I think many of you may have heard that the FLBA (Family Law Bar Association) have written to the Government requesting that there be a review of advocacy within family law, and making it fairly obvious that their steer is that solicitors should be discouraged from doing it and that only the Bar is really competent to do it.

If you haven’t seen it, I’ll link to it here  (you need PDF skillz to read it, sorry if that shuts you out)


There’s much of it that is very sensible – absolutely the stakes are high in public law cases and it is vital that those who are being represented are receiving that representation from people who are both confident and capable. If people, particularly parents, are not being well represented and points that ought to be taken are not being pursued, then that’s something that needs to be stopped.


And the points that are made that a financial element has pushed solicitors who would rather not be doing advocacy into having to do it to keep their firms afloat, are I think well made. It must be wrong that a lawyer is tackling work which they feel is beyond them because the only viable business model at present is one where a family lawyer does lots and lots of their own advocacy. You have to have a system in place where a solicitor who feels that the case requires a degree of experience and advocacy that is more than they possess is able to instruct counsel without feeling that the case has become as a result unprofitable.


However, I can also see that some of the underlying tone of the document creeps into what I trust is an unintentional assumption that the Bar is never guilty of the poor advocacy described here whereas it must be ‘par for the course’ for Solicitors;  the elements of “two legs bad, four legs good” are not attractive. I’m not sure that divide and rule is the best strategy in these difficult times for both branches of the profession.


*If the FLBA do want to do use as their telephone hold music, a reworking of Shabba Ranks finest hour so that it goes “Mister Loverman, FLBA” they are welcome to implement that idea…


About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

6 responses

  1. I think the reality is that perhaps the barristers may come under scrutiny when most European Countries have a solicitor advocate doing the work of both preparation, law and advocacy, it seems to be the bar which ought to consider providing both sides of the work and therefore one can choose from a free market of assistance…. which obviously would include the likes of McKenzie friends…..I note that Professional McKenzie friends are also under attack but a bit weak when in the same breath McKenzie friends are also good and useful, just don’t let them charge….maybe there is room in the marker for all. I do recall that often the brief for a barrister which is rarely shown or given to the client can be a bit shoddy, and i have seen barristers berating solicitors for not following the instructions of their client. Surely the person who knows the case best is the one who should also be doing the advocacy but litigants in person can be too emotionally affected and not knowing procedure, law and presentation do need help with this.. why not combine law and advocacy into one person rather than distinguishing between roles when they overlap to such a large degree?

  2. Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    When the priority should obviously be adequate legal service when representing clients interests does it really matter WHO delivers it over something as momentous and far-reaching as family law decisions?
    Could the DJ please tell the idiots to quit whining and play them this dedication instead?
    Fun Boy Three – The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum!

  3. Pingback: FLBA-gasted * | Children In Law |

  4. Nothing like evidence by anecdote. So here is mine.

    In a recent case it was the sole barrister in the public law proceedings that insisted at IRH that contact recordings were vital to the case and must be in court bundle. At Final the same barrister never once took judge or any witness to the contact recordings.

    And it has been a long time since I saw a barrister draw attention of court to a case adverse to own client.

    Glass houses and all.

    • I have a proposed amendment to the Family Procedure Rules that says

      “In the event that an advocate insists on production of documents and inclusion of them within the bundle, if a Judge later determines that they were not referred to or not material to the decisions to be made, said advocate must read the entire documents aloud (no other party need be present for the reading, but may at their whim enter the room from time to time to ensure that the reading is proceeding in accordance with this rule). The Judge may in the alternative direct that the advocate write the documents out in longhand and submit them for inspection. No fees shall be received for the time spent reading aloud or writing out the documents”

  5. Pingback: FLBA-gasted * | Legal In General |

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